Before taking your theory test, you will need a valid Provisional Driving Licence. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency application form (Form D1) can be obtained from your local Post Office but you can also apply online from the official Gov UK website.
You can apply for your licence up to 3 months before your 17th Birthday but it will not be valid until you actually turn 17 so you will not be able to take lessons on a public road, or take your theory test until then.
The Theory Test
The DSA theory test is made up of a multiple choice part and a hazard perception part. You need to pass both parts to pass the theory test. Once you’ve passed it, you will be able to apply to take your practical driving test. The pass mark for the multiple-choice section is 43 out of 50 and 44 out of 75 on the hazard perception. If you pass one part and fail the other, you'll fail the whole test, and you'll need to take both parts again.
Before the test starts you'll be given on-screen instructions on what the DSA require. You can choose to do a practice session of questions to get used to the test. At the end of the practice session the real test will begin.
A question and several possible answers will appear on a computer screen - you have to select the correct answer. Some questions may need more than one answer. You can move between questions and 'flag' questions that you want to come back to later in the test.
Some car and motorcycle questions will be given as a case study. The case study will:
show a short story that five questions will be based on
focus on real life examples and experiences that you could come across when driving
Before you start the hazard perception part, you'll be shown a short video clip about how it works.
You'll then be shown a series of video clips on a computer screen.
Feature every day road scenes
Contain at least one developing hazard - but one of the clips will feature two developing hazards
A developing hazard is something that may result in you having to take some kind of action, such as changing speed or direction.
It’s important to know, the earlier you notice a developing hazard and make a response, the higher you will score. The most you can score for each developing hazard is five points. To get a high score you need to:
respond to the developing hazard during the early part of its development
aim to press the mouse button as soon as you see a hazard developing
You won’t be able to review your answers to the hazard perception test as on the question part. If you click continuously or in a pattern during a clip a message will appear at the end telling you that you've scored zero for that particular clip. So be careful to practice beforehand.
From January 2012, the theory test questions have changed, so make sure that you are using an up to date training aid. I currently offer Theory Test Pro, which gives you access to everything you need to help pass your theory test. Simply click on the icon to register free of charge.